I’ve avoided it for as long as possible, but here it is: the latest Brexit update. The UK Government has finally acknowledged the logistics industry’s struggles, warning this month that truckers may not be able to access some European markets due to the potential of conflicts with UK-issued licences. They also recognised the impact on the already significant shortage in truck drivers. If immigration controls become tighter, it’s likely that the 55,000 employment gap will only increase. 

But perhaps this isn’t even the most unsettling news: the Department for Transport has this month published a document revealing that in the event of a no-deal Brexit, haulage companies would need to apply for permits in order to be able to travel across the European continent. The report also goes on to confirm that these permits, which would be authorised by the European Conference Ministers of Transport, are of a limited number. The result could be the introduction of a ‘lottery’ system, a proposal that has been described as ‘chaos’ by Labour MP, Daniel Zeichner.

The Brexit Secretary’s recognition of the vital value of the Dover-Calais crossing as he spoke at a technology conference this month was a bittersweet moment for the industry. As part of his address, Dominic Raab stated…

We are, and I hadn’t quite understood the full extent of this, but if you look at the UK and if you look at how we trade in goods, we are particularly reliant on the Dover-Calais crossing.

…yikes.

To be clear, the Brexit Secretary has admitted he wasn’t aware of the largest UK port for roll-on roll-off ferries and 2.9 million lorries last year, or of the fact that is handled a total 13% of cargo-carrying vessels entering the UK in 2016, or – just a small fact – that in monetary value, it handles 17% of UK trade in goods.

So now that the Mr Raab has finally realised just how significant the impact on the UK manufacturing and haulage industries are, surely there are some proposed resolutions? 

Not quite. Unless we decide to take Leave.EU co-founder Richard Tice’s advice of just using other ports. Let’s all hope it’s ‘just’ that simple.

In this issue, I explore the utilisation of warehouses, and their changing place within the supply chain. There’s a shift happening, with warehouses being relocated in order to fulfil gaps in employment, and speed up turnaround times. But it’s not just the logistics providers who are looking to set up shop closer to their customers. The Wall Street Journal has this month reported that over the pond the largest share of manufacturers in a decade are looking to build factories closer to consumers of their products. It’s reported that this move is largely to eliminate or reduce logistics and transportation costs, which are currently at an all-time high. Manufacturing is the 5th largest employer in the US, with over 11.6 million employees, according to Octobers’ statistics from the United States Census Bureau, and so an additional move towards more densely populated regions will ensure that the employment rate remains stable. The decentralised model of manufacturing also means more efficient communications, higher levels of customisation available to consumers, and the ability to take advantage of regional legislation when it comes to wages and other labour costs. 

So, what does this mean for logistics? Well, the knock-on effect could be that some of the interstate and long-distance hauliers suffer if this is a trend which continues. Smaller companies are likely to be the ones whose position weakens the most as they struggle to secure long-haul cargo. However, it could also mean the opportunity for some larger hauliers to revisit their business strategy. Recently, Californian trucking companies have seen themselves hit with huge fines by the Environmental Protection Agency for flouting State Law on emissions. Whilst reducing carbon pollution remains at the forefront of people’s minds, perhaps it’s time for companies to revisit their own emissions reduction strategy. Whilst companies with an ‘old-school’ approach to logistics may dig their heels in when it comes to change, the forward-thinking companies will understand that this kind of legislation is not going away. As with anything, the smart will adapt, cementing resolutions as selling points for their business.

Sarah O’Connell,
Senior Editor, FORWARDER magazine  

I’ve avoided it for as long as possible, but here it is: the latest Brexit update. The UK Government has finally acknowledged the logistics industry’s struggles, warning this month that truckers may not be able to access some European markets due to the potential of conflicts with UK-issued licences. They also recognised the impact on the already significant shortage in truck drivers. If immigration controls become tighter, it’s likely that the 55,000 employment gap will only increase. 

But perhaps this isn’t even the most unsettling news: the Department for Transport has this month published a document revealing that in the event of a no-deal Brexit, haulage companies would need to apply for permits in order to be able to travel across the European continent. The report also goes on to confirm that these permits, which would be authorised by the European Conference Ministers of Transport, are of a limited number. The result could be the introduction of a ‘lottery’ system, a proposal that has been described as ‘chaos’ by Labour MP, Daniel Zeichner.

The Brexit Secretary’s recognition of the vital value of the Dover-Calais crossing as he spoke at a technology conference this month was a bittersweet moment for the industry. As part of his address, Dominic Raab stated…

We are, and I hadn’t quite understood the full extent of this, but if you look at the UK and if you look at how we trade in goods, we are particularly reliant on the Dover-Calais crossing.

…yikes.

To be clear, the Brexit Secretary has admitted he wasn’t aware of the largest UK port for roll-on roll-off ferries and 2.9 million lorries last year, or of the fact that is handled a total 13% of cargo-carrying vessels entering the UK in 2016, or – just a small fact – that in monetary value, it handles 17% of UK trade in goods.

So now that the Mr Raab has finally realised just how significant the impact on the UK manufacturing and haulage industries are, surely there are some proposed resolutions? 

Not quite. Unless we decide to take Leave.EU co-founder Richard Tice’s advice of just using other ports. Let’s all hope it’s ‘just’ that simple.

In this issue, I explore the utilisation of warehouses, and their changing place within the supply chain. There’s a shift happening, with warehouses being relocated in order to fulfil gaps in employment, and speed up turnaround times. But it’s not just the logistics providers who are looking to set up shop closer to their customers. The Wall Street Journal has this month reported that over the pond the largest share of manufacturers in a decade are looking to build factories closer to consumers of their products. It’s reported that this move is largely to eliminate or reduce logistics and transportation costs, which are currently at an all-time high. Manufacturing is the 5th largest employer in the US, with over 11.6 million employees, according to Octobers’ statistics from the United States Census Bureau, and so an additional move towards more densely populated regions will ensure that the employment rate remains stable. The decentralised model of manufacturing also means more efficient communications, higher levels of customisation available to consumers, and the ability to take advantage of regional legislation when it comes to wages and other labour costs. 

So, what does this mean for logistics? Well, the knock-on effect could be that some of the interstate and long-distance hauliers suffer if this is a trend which continues. Smaller companies are likely to be the ones whose position weakens the most as they struggle to secure long-haul cargo. However, it could also mean the opportunity for some larger hauliers to revisit their business strategy. Recently, Californian trucking companies have seen themselves hit with huge fines by the Environmental Protection Agency for flouting State Law on emissions. Whilst reducing carbon pollution remains at the forefront of people’s minds, perhaps it’s time for companies to revisit their own emissions reduction strategy. Whilst companies with an ‘old-school’ approach to logistics may dig their heels in when it comes to change, the forward-thinking companies will understand that this kind of legislation is not going away. As with anything, the smart will adapt, cementing resolutions as selling points for their business.

Sarah O’Connell,
Senior Editor, FORWARDER magazine